The House Committee on Agrarian Reform, chaired by Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos, has unanimously approved House Bill No. 187 or the Agrarian Reform and Agricultural Loan Restructuring and Condonation Act which seeks to condone the unpaid loan interests secured by farmers, fisherfolk, and agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
“I believe we are one in promoting the country’s comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform. Through this bill, we will be able to give our farmers, fisherfolks and agrarian reform beneficiaries the opportunity to have a fresh start by providing loan amnesty particularly to the victims of natural disasters and to those who are facing difficulties,” Cong. Relampagos stressed.
In order to prevent abuse, the proposed condonation shall only be granted on the condition that it is limited to force majeure or events beyond the reasonable control of a loan borrower and shall, in no case, be applied for the willful default of the borrower to pay such loans.
Moreover, the accumulated payments of not less than five percent of the loan principal shall have been paid at the time of application for condonation and that the condonation of unpaid interests, penalties and surcharges from loans acquired through conduit banks and financial institutions and the agencies mentioned above shall be in conformity with the applicable general banking laws and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“This important measure will also provide our farmers and fisherfolks access to new and additional government credit programs which is important for them to sustain their livelihoods and be productive again,” he explained.
The following are covered by the condonation program: (a) Agricultural and Agrarian Reform credit secured through the Credit Assistance Program; (b) Agricultural and Agrarian Reform credit secured through the terminated credit program schemes of the DAR, such as the Dutch Rural Development Assistance Program (DRDAP), DAR Direct Lending Financing Program (DDLFP), DAR Special Projects Office (SPO) Direct, and the SPO Window III Financing Program for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries of the DAR and the Development Bank of the Philippines; (c) Resettlement Loan Assistance Program of the DAR for individual agrarian reform beneficiaries; (d) Agricultural Credit secured through the High Yield Crop Loan Assistance Program of the DA; (e) Agricultural credit secured through Microfinance Program for Small Farmers and Fisherfolk and the Household of the PCFC; (f) Cooperative Development Loan Fund of the CDA; (g) Farmers Level Grain Center of the NFA; (h) Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Barangay Marketing Center (CARP-BMC) and all agri-credit guarantee programs of QUEDANCOR.
Said bill, which was filed during the 15th Congress and was approved during the 16th Congress. “Hopefully, we pass it in the 17th Congress,” Rep. Relampagos positively said.